Last updateTue, 02 Jun 2020 11pm

David Brown

Your New Years Revolution

So you’re a little over a month into the New Year and those plans for change in your business have largely been ignored. The start of a fresh year is the perfect time to make major changes in your business and the time to plan and take action is now. If you’ve allowed the first month to drift, then you need to get back on track. There’s something about the New Year that encourages fresh hope and change and you need to take advantage of it. Flush with the cash from a strong December trade (hopefully), you’re in a good position to introduce new things, and with any luck you’ve had the chance for at least a short break.

How to make the most of your December business

So the holiday season is over, the hard work is done and it’s time to take a well earned break - and why not? You deserve it.

January can be the best time to take a break from your business - it is also the time when you can reap the most benefits. It’s a little like farming - you’ve got the hay in the barn, but you need to make sure it gets used wisely or it has a habit of disappearing by itself!

Why follow through is your most important job

There are many reasons why retailers can fall on bad times. These may include absence of customers, shortage of resources or other events over which they have no control.

Regardless, the only thing that you have an abundant supply of is ideas. You can always revamp your business by using new strategies. A good idea has the power to turn around your fortunes. Necessity being the mother of invention, ideas are more important in bleak times than otherwise.

Diamond Drilldown - Are your diamond departments delivering?

With diamond jewelry being one of the few unique product areas that jewelry retail has to itself, it makes good business sense that a reasonable amount of time and attention should be devoted to this. Hence the Diamond Drilldown we will be concentrating on in the lead up to December. If diamonds are not a significant part of your sales then it’s time to ask why.

As a benchmark we recommend the first goal should be to have Diamond Departments Totals of at least 45% of your Total Sales on the KPI (key performance indicator) report. There are already some stores that are achieving better than this, so their target should be 50%. Whatever your current level you always need to be aiming higher.

The secret to a loving vendor relationship

Recently I was discussing inventory with a retail client, and we spoke about the amount of aged inventory they had with a particular vendor. The retailer had asked the vendor if he would be willing to exchange the product and was denied.

Will your business be your nest egg?

So, you’re working in your business, with no plans to retire. You might even believe it is too early to plan your retirement.

But hold on - at some point or other you will want to pass the reins to someone else (let’s be realistic, you are not going to last forever). The right time to start planning this is not just before selling.

You must begin the process of handing over the business, or setting up the sale, a few years before you actually do. As far as possible, keep your business in a ready-to sell mode at all times - you never know what circumstances will force you to put your store on the market.

Every journey starts with a step - and a direction

In the daily grind of trying to earn a living, it’s easy to forget the true purpose of what you’re trying to achieve – or even whether the true motivation behind your job still exists. The wide-eyed zest of the early days can soon give way to cynicism about how things are going when expectations aren’t being met.

If you are stuck in a situation like this, take heart – there are many other people like you. At some point in time everyone goes through a slump. However, instead of wallowing in misery, it’s time to get back on your feet and make things work.

Have you experienced any of the following lately?

  • You find yourself wondering what would have happened if you’d gone with your original career choice of flamingo dancing instructor.
  • You’ve considered hiring an exorcist to banish the invisible barrier that seems to be stopping customers from crossing your entrance way.
  • You discover your 17 year old son is making more money per hour than you.
  • You simply aren’t enjoying your work anymore.

We all can relate to these circumstances from time to time. However, if you have been in this state for a long period of time, then it’s time you took a closer look at yourself and your business.

It is important to ask yourself, “What do I really want?” How often have you asked yourself that lately? Sadly, most people don’t ask for what they want, and miss out on what life has to offer them. Even though it sounds rather philosophical, it is all about what you want your life to be like. Your work is a journey towards what you eventually will become. If you don’t know what your goal is, you can’t expect to reach it. Would you like a life where you have enough time for leisure? Is earning money your sole purpose? Where would you put your time and money if you had more of either?

The best way to see life from a new perspective is to take some time off and allow yourself to reflect. Sitting at home or in the store will not give you any answers. That’s why you need a holiday, to clear your head. Pack your bags and take off for a couple of days to a serene destination, away from distractions and don’t take anything more than a pen and paper.

The important questions to ask are:

  1. What are you currently getting that you desire less of? (Grumpy customers, phone calls from the bank manager)
  2. What do you think there should be more of in your life and store?
  3. What do you think is wrong in your life and store, which should stop happening?
  4. What are the things that you think you should start doing?

Once you answer these questions, you will see a direction, a way forward for yourself and your store. Once you have a direction, all you need to do is chalk out plans to proceed in that direction. It will be evident what needs to be done once you have a sense of direction.

Life can give you exactly what you want; it is important to ask for it. Set yourself some clear one year, three year, five year and ten year goals.

This is never more important than when you set your annual budget. What else do you think a budget is? It is another way of asking. You aren’t asking for any more than you got last year if you don’t have a budget, or your budget is the same as last years result. If that’s what you ask for, then that’s what you are likely to get!

You need to know what you want and you need to go after it. It’s alright to go off track once in a while – an airliner stays off course most of the time but gets to its destination in the end. When it recognizes that it has lost its way, it makes minor alterations that are hardly noticeable. It doesn’t waste time and energy going further ahead from where it will have to make a major change in it’s course. Thus, even you need to evaluate your performance daily and see if you are on the right course. If you aren’t, take charge immediately and get things in place before it’s too late to make amends!

Start the process this instant and keep working at it. In due course the moments of self-doubt will be few and far between!

David Brown is President of the Edge Retail Academy, an organization devoted to the ongoing measurement and growth of jewelry store performance and profitability. For further information about the Academy’s management mentoring and industry benchmarking reports contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call 877-569-8657.